Moreno Hofland (Belkin) produced a magnificent sprint to the line to beat John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and win stage 2 of Paris-Nice from Rambouillet to Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche. Overnight leader, Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) finished third on the stage and continues to lead the GC with a two second advantage. A crash in the final kilometre saw the peloton fracture just before Hofland opened up for his winning sprint.
Hofland came into the finish on Degenkolb’s wheel, and with 200 metres to go, the runner up from Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne surprised the German with a quick turn of speed.
Bouhanni now leads Degenkolb by two seconds after Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) crashed inside the final 10 kilometres and lost contact with the peloton.
Bouhanni said he was still feeling the effects of the crash he suffered on Sunday’s opening stage, when he crossed the finish line with his knee covered in blood.
Hofland has been in great form of late, finishing second last week to Tom Boonen in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
[quote_box_center]”I’m a little surprised because with one kilometre to go today I was a little too far behind,” Hofland said. “I was in the wheel of John Degenkolb and with 200 metres to go, I went a little early and I managed to surprise him. The last couple of weeks have been going pretty good for me and I hope to hold the form as long as possible.”[/quote_box_center]
The 180km third stage will run between Toucy and the Magny-Cours circuit.
Stage 2 205km, Rambouillet to Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche
1 Moreno Hofland (NED) Belkin 4hr 53min 46sec
2 John Degenkolb (GER) Giant-Shimano
3 Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) FDJ.fr
4 Alexander Kristoff (NOR) Katusha
5 Thor Hushovd (NOR) BMC
6 Bryan Coquard (FRA) Europcar
7 Armindo Fonseca (FRA) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
8 Tony Gallopin (FRA) Lotto-Belisol
9 Jens Keukeleire (BEL) Orica-GreenEDGE
10 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Movistar